Something amazing has happened almost every day this week, and I need to blog about it before I forget and lose the utter beauty and wonder of it all-
Khalid is talking.
If someone leaves a room, he says Bye-Bye. If he wants food, he opens the fridge and says Eat. When he wants a drink, he announces ‘Juice!’ until he gets some. He woke Ruth up the other day by poking her and saying “On!” and two days ago, when Khalid wasn’t very keen on the beef stir-fry we had for lunch, he turned his head and very clearly said “No!”
All of this progress is just since the May 26th post, The Sweetest ROI
. It’s almost like Khalid has had his Hellen Keller moment, and now that he understands what words are for, he’s using them whenever he can. He knocks on the door and says “Open!”and when someone honked in traffic the other day, Khalid answered with “Beep Beep!”
Yesterday, he walked into the kitchen and loudly called out Sheeeeeeep! He’s copying words he hears in WordWorld. And that’s not even the best part. Today, Ruth and the kids went one way in the mall while I went to the other to buy groceries. After I had checked out, I pulled my phone out to call Ruth and the kids back, but before I could dial the number, I heard a distant and chirpy little voice call out Mamaa! I turned around incredulously, and there, a few shops down, was Khalid, running gleefully in my direction. He’s never called me before. And now, he called out to me and ran into my arms.
Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah.
And later today, during the long drive back home, Ruth had been tickling Khalid by saying ‘Buzzzzz!’ and then poking him in the stomach. We call this electric fingers. Well, this same evening, Khalid walked up to me and poked his fingers into my stomach and shouted Buzz! looking at me with delighted anticipation. It took him two times to get the message across (Buzz, Buzz!!) but onceI got it, we had a hysterical laugh and I let him tickle me.
He tickled me.
And then he ran off to go bounce on his bed, and I IM’ed my sister, called my husband, and danced around the house out of joy. And I’m still walking on air. It’s midnight right now, but if I could call anyone else I would. But I can’t, so I’m blogging about it instead because I want to remember this forever and share it with everyone within earshot. Khalid tickled me!!!
Six months ago, Khalid was non-verbal, aversive to being cuddled, almost impossible to interact with, threw tantrums constantly and was physically aggressive to the point that I used to keep him at arm’s length- literally. If Khalid ran up to me then, it was because he was going to scratch or pinch or hit me, so before he got there, I redirected him and moved away. He kicked doors and cabinets and banged his head against walls and mirrors and the floor. He would cry so hard he’d get a nose bleed, wake up in the night screaming, and was so in his own world that it was hard to believe he wasn’t deaf. That, in case I’ve never spelled it out before, is the tip of the autism iceberg.
It may be false hope, or euphoria from the electric fingers talking, but this is the first time that I have an image in my mind of Khalid’s future as a normal, independent, young man- going to school, getting a degree, having friends, holding a job, getting married… Compare this to the image I’ve been trying to block out for months- Khalid needing constant care, feeding, diapering- even into adulthood. And I don’t want to talk about how it feels, as a parent, to wonder what will happen to your special needs child after you die. The world is a cruel place. They’re only special to you. To everyone else, they’re just freaks, and it’s easier to forget about them than to care for them.
But that’s depressing, and right now, I want to luxuriate in this wonder and absolute joy. And while I can’t say I’ve reached a point where I’m happy that Khalid has autism, I am definitely at a point where I understand that if Khalid never had autism, then I would never know this kind of happiness. I would never have had to develop such patience, or experience how rewarding it is to see progress in a labor of love.
Fa inna ma’al usri yusraa
Inna ma’al usri yusraa.
Therefore, after hardship will always come ease.
Verily, after hardship will always come ease.